Variable refresh rates are now supported by Google’s Chrome OS

Variable refresh rates are now supported by Google's Chrome OS

Support for variable refresh rate displays is rolling out to the Chrome OS 101 Dev Channel, as spotted by About Chromebooks. To try it out, you’d need to enable the flag at chrome://flags#enable-variable-refresh-rate. This turns on the feature in the software, but you’d still need useful hardware to notice any viewing difference. There aren’t many — if any — Chromebook displays out there with built-in VRR displays, but the report notes that it may be possible to get the feature working by connecting your device to an external monitor that supports variable refresh rates.

We’ve moved on from dismissing Chrome OS as little more than a glorified browser. Google has been improving the operating system’s capabilities, and it appears that the Chromebook gaming experience is the company’s next destination. In January, we observed the latest Chrome OS code updates, which hinted at complete RGB keyboard functionality. New rumours imply that Google is working on delivering complete support for variable refresh rate (VRR) screens to Chrome OS in less than two months.

Highlights

  • It’s great that Google has brought support for VRR displays to Chrome OS. Unfortunately, users won’t be able to take advantage of it until manufacturers start fitting Chromebooks with native variable refresh rate displays and dedicated Nvidia or AMD GPUs.

  • Avid gamers may have experienced stuttering and screen-tearing a few times. (For the uninitiated, screen tearing is a visual artifact where a display shows information from multiple frames in a single screen draw.) Multiple aspects of your screen don’t align with one another, and this is caused by your display’s refresh rate and graphics card being out of sync. Variable refresh rate displays help eliminate such viewing errors by matching the frame rates from your GPU. Windows supports this feature primarily for gaming and newer TVs are also being fitted with the capability — making them excellent for consoles like the Xbox Series X. Even phones like the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra have adaptive refresh rate displays to conserve battery on screens that don’t require that blazing-fast 120Hz.